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Living Positive Victoria understands that many of you are feeling worried and anxious about the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. We are here to support you during this time. This tip sheet has some information about looking after your mental health and where to get help if you need it.

Try to be calm and practical

Most people are concerned about the outbreak of coronavirus. However, panic can make it difficult to manage the virus. Medical professionals, researchers and public health experts are working hard to control the coronavirus and find treatments and a vaccine. Try to stay calm, practice social distancing and hygiene measures to help control the spread of the coronavirus.

Limit how much news you watch or read.

While it’s important to stay informed, constantly watching or reading upsetting information can increase feelings of anxiety and distress.

Get accurate information

Getting accurate information from credible sources will help you be well informed and feel in control. The following websites have reliable information on coronavirus:

Department of Health and Human Services for information on coronavirus from the Victorian State Government.

ABC COVID-19 news stream for up to date news on coronavirus.

Managing your mental health while in self-isolation or quarantine

There are a number of ways to support your mental health during periods of self-isolation or quarantine.

  • Remember that this is temporary. It will end.
  • Remind yourself that by staying home you are helping reduce the spread of coronavirus and keeping yourself and your community safe.
  • Stay in touch with friends, loved ones and colleagues. Pick up the phone, send an email, try video conferencing or connect on social media. Arrange an online get together with friends or family using a video conferencing app.
  • Do things that you enjoy and find relaxing. Rediscover old hobbies or pastimes, or start new ones. Join an online community in something you are interested in and stay connected to other people.
  • Eat healthy foods and get plenty of sleep.
  • Get regular exercise. It’s great for your physical and mental health.
  • Establish a rhythm to your day. Go to bed and wake up at a regular time, eat regular meals and try to get some fresh air outside.
  • Use this time as a chance to learn something new or work on a project you have been planning. There are lots of free classes available online.
  • If you work from home, establish start and finish times. Make sure that you take regular breaks from your work. If you have the space, set up a place just for work.
  • Turn off the news and limit social media if it is upsetting you.
  • Mindfulness practice can be helpful if you are feeling anxious. There are a lot of online mindfulness resources and apps.
  • Get in touch with Living Positive Victoria for support from a peer.

Follow your treatment plan

If you have a mental health condition, follow your treatment plan and monitor your symptoms. If you are feeling worse, seek support. See below.

Reach out for support

It can help to get support for your mental health. If you see a psychologist, psychiatrist or counsellor, you could make an appointment with them. There are also other places to go for support.

Beyond Blue: Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service 1800 512 348

A free, 24/7 counselling service offered by mental health professionals. Counselling is available over the phone and online and the website has lots of corona virus resources.

www.coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467

Mental health support call back service.

www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au

Lifeline Australia 13 11 14
A crisis support service offering short term support 24 hours a day.

www.lifeline.org.au

Switchboard Victoria 1800 184 527
Phone and online counselling and referral service for LGBTQI people.

www.switchboard.org.au

Eheadspace 1800 650 893
Online and webchat support and counselling for young people up to 25 years of age and their family and friends.

www.headspace.org.au/eheadspace

Living Positive Victoria
Phone and online peer support for people living with HIV in Victoria. Get in touch via email.